Vladimir Vaiser was born in 1921 in the Ukrainian city of Proskurov (which was renamed Khmelnitskii in 1954). In the 1930s the Vaiser family moved to Birobidzhan, the Jewish Autonomous Region. It was there that Vaiser was drafted into the Red Army, which sent him to a tank course.
Vaiser was at the front from the first days of the Soviet-German war. He fought on the Southwest, Stalingrad, Don, and First Belorussian Fronts. In 1943 Vaiser was promoted to the rank of junior lieutenant and appointed commander of a T-34 tank.
In December 1943 German troops attempted to reoccupy Kiev, which had been liberated by the Red Army on November 6. On December 20 a tank company that included the tank of Lieutenant Vaiser engaged in battle against 40 Tiger and Panther tanks of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Division. Vaiser's crew destroyed two enemy tanks but was hit by enemy fire. Despite the danger, Vaiser jumped out of the tank and put out the fire with snow and his coat. He then got back into the tank and destroyed another "Panther" and killed a number of paratroopers. However, his tank was set afire a second time. Vaiser and the turret-gunner pulled the wounded mechanic-driver and radioman-gunner out of the burning tank. Once again, with snow and coats, and this time also with sand, the fire was extinguished. However, the tank was hit again and Vaiser was killed when the tank went up in flames.
Vladimir Vaiser was posthumously honored as Hero of the Soviet Union on August 25, 1944.